Year in review: Take our 2016 business quiz

Gone in 60 questions: a quizzical look back at last year’s business events – some of them quite important, some of them slightly less so.


1 That was then: the price of a barrel of Brent crude started 2016 at about what price, in US dollars?

a) $37

b) $47

c) $57

d) $67

2 On the first day of full trading in 2016, markets worldwide sank after the main stock index in what country fell by its daily limit of ​7 per cent?

3 From bad to worse: shares in which European automaker fell as much as 23 per cent on January 14 after a fraud raid linked to possible emissions cheating?

4 Match the stock index with its January change:

a) Dubai

b) Shanghai composite

c) Tadawul (Saudi)

d) Tunis

1) -4.8 per cent

2) -13.2 per cent

3) -22.8 per cent

4) +8.4 per cent

5 Despite January’s ructions the world did not end (if it had, this would be an awfully short quiz). There’s no question here: just give yourself a point for having outlasted the year’s most wearying month. Things got better, starting in …


6 Aldar reported on February 3 that its Yas Mall had 18 million visitors in 2015. In comparison, how many visitors did The Dubai Mall have in 2015?

a) 42 million

b) 67 million

c) 92 million​

​7 On February 4, Imax said it would be installing its trademark theatres in which two of the following malls:

a) Abu Dhabi’s Mushrif Mall

b) Abu Dhabi’s Yas Mall

c) Sharjah’s Zero 6 Mall

8 Bloomberg news reported that Hasbro and Mattel were in talks about a possible merger. Which pair of the toys below is made by Hasbro, and which pair by Mattel?

a) Nerf Zombie Strike Crosscut Blaster and Scrabble

b) Barbie and Hot Wheels

9 Name three of the four countries that, at a meeting in Doha on February 16, agreed to cap their oil production at current levels. Clue: one of the countries is in South America.

10 True or false: on the last weekend of February, the Dubai Food Festival included an Etisalat Beach Canteen. You could order a hamburger, and Etisalat would deliver it to you between 8am and 4pm the following T​u​esday.


11 The Umex trade show was held in Abu Dhabi from March 6 to 8. What does Umex stand for? Clue: many of the conference’s speakers doubtless droned on.

12 A Google neural-networks computer program that had been trained to play the Asian board game Go had a five-game match against the South Korean granddmaster Lee Sedol. Within one, how many of the five games did the human win?

13 S​ony said it was paying US$750 million to buy out the Michael Jackson estate’s half-stake in their joint music-catalogue business. Name the Beatles song that was not part of the sale, as, under a prior deal, the Australian businessman Robert Holmes à Court had hived it off as a gift for his teenaged daughter? (Very strange!)

14 On March 21, the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority marked an anniversary. Was it the authority’s 20th, 30th, 40th or 50th birthday?​

15 In the end, the man whose motto was​ “Only the paranoid survive” didn’t. Name the Silicon Valley legend who died at age 79​ on March 21.


16 The Dubai Multi Commodities Centre said it would start marketing a Dubai-branded line of teas called Shay Dubai. True or false: the teas were to include genuine gold leaf.

17 As his country’s economy crashed after decades of quixotic mismanagement, Venezuela’s president issued which one of the following decrees:

a) All citizens will be required to change their underwear every half-hour. Underwear will be worn on the outside so we can check.

b) To save electricity, all government workers will get Fridays off for two months.

c) From this day on, the official language will be Swedish.

d) All children under 16 years old are now … 16 years old.

18 Ouch! Abu Dhabi announced that expatriate tenants would have to pay a municipal contract fee equivalent to what percentage of their rent?

19 The sweet display that is shown in Picture #19 was on view at what annual Abu Dhabi trade show? (Clues: nine letters, starts with a C, is not ChocoExpo).

20 Saudi Arabia formally released its Vision 2030 economic reform plan on April 25. Which one of the following was not an element of the plan?

a) Resident expats to gain more rights through creation of a “green card” system.

b) Up to 5 per cent of Saudi Aramco to be sold in an IPO.

c) Creation of a holding company for the country’s military industries.

d) In fact, all of the above were part of the plan.


21 Ali Al Naimi, 80, retired as Saudi Arabia’s petroleum minister. Within three years, how long had he held the job?

22 ​The only company in the world rated Triple A by all three major ratings agencies was said to be considering its first issue of euro-denominated bonds since 2007. Pick the right one:

a) ExxonMobil

b) Industrial and Commercial Bank of China

c) Johnson & Johnson

d) Samsung

23 Masdar said it had completed five solar and wind power projects in Pacific island countries. Which one of the following was not among the countries in question?

a) Kiribati

b) Marshall Islands

c) Nauru

d) Solomon Islands

e) Tristan da Cunha

24 True or false: On May 16, The National‘s business desk received a news release with this headline: “Powder made of 24-carat gold compact take spotlight at Beautyworld Middle East 2016”.

25 ​On May 29, Lulu opened a new outlet in Jeddah. That brought the group’s total number of hypermarkets to:

a) 25

b) 125

c) 225

d) 87


26 Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund said on June 1 that it had paid $3.5bn for 5 per cent of what US-based pillar of the sharing economy?

27 A consortium of Gulf investors known as Adeptio forked out US$2.4bn for a majority stake in Kuwait Food Company, whose franchises in the Middle East include all but one of the following:

a) Kentucky Fried Chicken

b) Krispy Kreme

c) Pizza Hut

d) Every cardiologist

28 FGB and National Bank of Abu Dhabi confirmed on June 19 that they were contemplating a merger, which would create a bank to rival the Gulf leader in both assets and stock-market value. That leader is …

a) Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank

b) National Bank of Kuwait

c) National Commercial Bank

d) Qatar National Bank

29 After Britons voted on June 23 to leave the European Union the pound fell to a 31-year low against the US dollar. Among the reasons for the pound’s deep slump back in 1985 was which one of the following items?

a) concerns that oil prices were about to collapse

b) rising British interest rates

c) the prospect that central banks would be dumping “overvalued” US dollars on the market

30 On June 28, Emaar unveiled a new mascot for Burj Khalifa’s two observation decks – “none other than the loveable Mr Burj”, as per a news release that also called the mascot “effortlessly flexible” and a “value-added experience”. According to his backstory, Mr Burj was born from:

a) a failed nuclear experiment

b) two failed nuclear experiments

c) three failed nuclear experiments

d) a desire to make Modhesh, the mascot of Dubai Shopping Surprises, seem slightly less eccentric

e) the wish of Omar, a fictional Arab boy, to have his toy come to life


31 What percentage of hotel guests in Ras Al Khaimah during Eid Al Fitr holiday were UAE residents – 36 per cent, 56 per cent or 76 per cent?

32 All at once, pretty much everyone under the age of 40 started playing Pokemon Go on their mobiles. Which two of these statements about the game are false:

a) its success lifted Nintendo shares by 25 per cent on July 11 alone

b) it had the highest-ever score on Metacritic

c) the goal of the game is to capture Pokemon characters by tossing a ball at them

d) the reward for capturing a Pokemon is you get the six hours of your life back that you just wasted.

33 Star Trek Beyond, partly shot in Dubai, was released on July 22. Which one of the world’s 10 richest people appeared in the movie as a random alien?

34 Great moments in press releases: on July 28, a release sent to The National touted “a new concept” in Dubai street food: “Balls® you can eat”. True or false?

35 Facebook reported second-quarter ad revenue of $6.2bn. Within 10 percentage points either way, what proportion of that revenue came from advertising on mobiles?


36 A group of global banks cobbled together a bailout plan for Italy’s Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena, the world’s oldest bank. True or false: Monte dei Paschi was established in 1472 after influenza killed half the people in Siena.

37 What company – a sponsor of eight Olympians – mounted a covert online campaign that mocked the Olympic Games’ incredibly tight rules on which companies can mention the Olympic Games?

a) Brooks Running

b) Turkish Airlines

c) Under Armour

d) Red Bull

38 A new retail concourse opened at the World Trade Center site in New York. Which one of the following was not among the stores on offer?

a) Eataly

b) Ford Motor

c) Kate Spade

d) Duane Reade

e) Balls® you can eat

39 Enoc’s retail arm said it plans to add 30 outlets a year to its corner-store chain until it reaches 500 by 2025. What is the name of the corner-store chain? (Clue: four letters, starts with a Z)

40 The world’s largest aircraft – the Airlander 10, part plane and part airship – nosedived into the ground during its second test flight, on August 24. In what European country was the vessel being tested?


41 Check out the sweet snapshot of a floating home in picture #41. It was on offer at Cityscape Global in Dubai. Was the approximate price tag on one of these babies higher or lower than US$8 million?

42 The former BBC Television Centre in London, which was being converted into flats, was marketed in Dubai in September. Which BBC show accounts for three of the most-watched TV episodes in UK history?

43 Which of the following was, according to a news release from the Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority, the leading foreign source market for the emirate’s hotels during Eid Al Adha:

a) Russia